When Asian women are objectified and dehumanized, this reinforces the idea that Asian women lack agency.By Linh Cao Worldbuilding is tricky. Creators have to spend hours researching before they can even begin writing. And once they start writing, they might run into a obstacle that can only be addressed via more research. After the story is written—what then? The real world isn’t stagnant. The readers grow as people. One would assume the author does so as well. But once stories are written, they’re done. It’s been told and you can’t take it back once it’s out there in the world, rattling around in the global conscious. And any attempt to make changes to it will often be met with scrutiny. When it was announced that Claudia Kim was cast as Nagini—Voldemort’s snake in human form—in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, people of color worldwide understood right away what the implications would be. Some supported the casting, on the tail of “Crazy Rich Asians” and the Asian American representation movement, saying that “all representation is good representation.” But what if that representation meant she would be a cursed, possessed object for wizard Hitler? Up until this creation (and I truly do believe JKR decided this recently), Nagini was the pet snake and a horcrux to Voldemort. Neville Longbottom ultimately beheads her, which is seen as a satisfying victory for those who oppose the Dark Lord. Some supporters of the casting think we’re angry and disappointed because a woman of color is cast a villain. No. We’re angry and disappointed for two reasons.
- No care was taken to understand the ramifications of casting a woman of color as a white man’s pet.
- The lack of research and thought put into Nagini’s character and her curse.
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Brown Asians and Black people should not be asked to support a movie that does not support them.By Sangeetha Thanapal [This piece is the second in a two-part critique of race in "Crazy Rich Asians", you can read the first one here.] Many are lauding “Crazy Rich Asians” as a step in the right direction for the representation of Asians in Hollywood. Some have even gone so far as to call it the “Asian ‘Black Panther’”, and its setting, Singapore, the “Chinese Wakanda.” The truth is that the movie is actually far from being a win for representation, largely because it perpetuates existing racist dynamics in Singapore. It simply is not the “Great Asian Hope” that it is being portrayed as. While it is being billed as an Asian movie, it is made up almost entirely of East Asians. The few Brown people featured in it are seen in service positions to the glamorous and wealthy Chinese characters. The dominance of East Asia in the worldwide imagination of who constitutes the idea of Asia is troubling, especially since Brown Asians make up a sizeable portion of the continent. The tendency to equate East Asia with all Asians wipes out the many differences between us. An East Asian-Brown Asian divide exists specifically because Brown Asians have been overlooked from the American definition of Asian for generations. There has been much criticism against such erasure, and this movie only propagates it by branding a Chinese cast as a movie for all Asians. It presents Brown Asians as a backdrop to East Asian opulence and success, reinforcing the notion that Brown people are inferior to East Asians, those in closer proximity to whiteness. It further entrenches the idea that East Asians are the only Asians that matter. This should not be the case, especially because East Asians buy into and promote the model minority myth, conveniently cutting out those who do not fit into this narrative. Commentators keep referring it to as the first movie with an all-Asian cast in over two decades. However, Hari Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem With Apu” also had a predominantly Asian cast, but because Brown Asians are often ignored within the U.S., the movie was not praised the way Crazy Rich Asians is being. One might say that a documentary is different from a movie but then what about "Missisipi Masala" or even "Harold and Kumar"?
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Despite the ongoing trauma I've experienced and the toxic things I've had to unlearn, I wouldn't trade being Blasian for anything.Until recently, I thought that being a biracial Black and Asian person was no big deal. I look Black and was always closer to my African American dad than my Vietnamese mom, so I thought that nullified my biracial heritage somehow. However, certain experiences, new stories, and media have reminded me that no matter how Black I appear to be, I will always be Blasian. The very first time I became aware of how my ethnicity affected me was when I was asked what my race was on a form when I was in elementary school. Ten to twenty years ago, official documents didn't give you the option to say that you were multiracial or choose more than one race. I remember being a little confused because I knew my skin was Black, but both my parents weren't. In the end, I chose "Black" and sometimes I still just choose "Black" when I think my ethnicity is too complicated for others to understand. Growing up in an interracial household meant that I was being exposed to bits of two different cultures and sometimes seeing them come together. Lunch and dinner meals would sometimes be Vietnamese foods like fried rice, fried spring rolls, and meat, hard-boiled eggs, and rice in a brown sauce. When my dad was alive, the house would be permeated with his deep, booming voice as he talked loudly on the phone to his siblings in Troy, Alabama. Occasionally, I'd hear old-school R&B music playing from his computer and in his truck when I would ride with him. Since I was closer to my dad, he planted the seeds for what would eventually become pride in my Blackness. Through music, radio, and television, we developed a special bond that involved us listening to music and the Tom Joyner's morning radio show when he took me to school. In the evenings, we would watch the news followed by game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Through these things, he instilled in me values of intelligence, news awareness, and artistic appreciation that stayed with me long after he passed.
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Dear non-Black Asian-Americans (and other non-Black folks), we have a real issue with appropriating AAVE, and it needs to stop. AAVE stands for African American Vernacular English, and it refers to a distinct language—consisting of words, phrases, intonations, gestures, but also,
Sexuality is for everyone, because we all deserve to feel pleasure. It's long past time for sex education to make race part of the conversation. There are few times when I am not aware of my identity as I move through the